Businesses depend on their brand. Everything business owners do is to build that brand, and in turn, trust in their company.
Unfortunately, legal disputes and litigation often put the all-important brand in jeopardy.
Short-lived disputes can have long-lasting effects
Reputational damage is one of the most serious risks businesses face. This is because business owners only have so much control over their reputation. They can build their brand with painstaking care, but a business’s reputation stems from what others – consumers and other business entities – think of them.
That is why facing claims of discrimination or breach of contract can have a significant impact on:
- The trust established with customers;
- The relationships with partners or shareholders;
- Partnerships or relationships with other businesses and entities.
These negative impacts can also directly affect the business’s value and financial success in the long run.
As we discussed in previous blog posts, this risk is exponentially higher in the digital age than it has ever been before. News of any disputes or complaints can quickly spread in the media and undermine a business’s reputation and brand name.
Even if the dispute is resolved quickly, the impact on the business’s brand and relationships can be lasting.
How can you control reputational damage?
It is difficult to control the business’s reputation, especially in today’s world. However, business owners can take action to protect it. Business owners should:
- Carefully monitor their company’s presence on the internet, especially when it comes to what consumers are saying about their business;
- Create a plan of action to protect the reputation in the event of a lawsuit; and
- Connect directly with consumers and business entities if a lawsuit threatens the business’s reputation to reassure them.
The goal of protecting a business’s reputation is also one reason why many business owners strive to negotiate and resolve disputes outside of the courtroom. As of now, California business owners can still enforce arbitration agreements, since a judge put a hold on Assembly Bill 51’s ban. However, business owners should not rely on that ban alone. They must ensure they approach any dispute with great care and strategy to preserve their brand and reputation.